Blog

See our experts’ latest contributions on consulting, execution, growth, simplification and other key topics in today’s industry-leading blog posts.

06.12.12 

Best Practice #1: Establish Personal Checkpoints

In a presidential election year, we find ourselves assessing how President Obama has performed against his strategy, how the public perceives him, and what we expect from him in the future based on his past performance.  In Ron Ashkenas’ Harvard Business Revie…

05.22.12  Ron Ashkenas

Don't Dismiss Stretch Goals

Let's not dismiss stretch goals as demotivating or dangerous. If you tackle them by carving out short-term challenges, and learn as you go, they can be a powerful way to accelerate progress. Over the past several decades, my colleagues and I have seen the power of …

05.01.12  Ron Ashkenas

Managers Don't Really Want to Innovate

Innovation may be an organization's life blood, but still its success rate in most companies hovers at just 17%. Even innovation leader P&G succeeds less than 50% of the time.What prevents companies from innovating better? One possibility is that managers don't…

03.20.12  Ron Ashkenas

Firing Someone the Right Way

Perhaps the most difficult part of any manager's job is telling a subordinate that he can no longer stay with the company — that he's been "fired," "let go," "dismissed," or otherwise taken off the payroll. It's a gut-wrenching conversation, knowing how this simple…

02.21.12  Ron Ashkenas

Why We Don't Always Tell the Truth

As we get older, the truth becomes more nuanced — and there are times when a little white lie or the absence of some key facts might be appropriate. The problem is that all of us have different standards for when, why, and how we shade the truth. These divergent '…

01.10.12  Ron Ashkenas

In Presentations, Learn to Say Less

Imagine that you had 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes at the next executive staff meeting to get your message across. Would you be able to focus your energy on the most compelling way to convey your most important thought?Honestly, many of us would be flustered by …

01.04.12  Ron Ashkenas

Start the Year in the Right Rhythm

Establishing the right rhythm for each of work stream in an organization is an important but extremely difficult part of the leadership job. Not only does each stream need to be done well, but the combination needs to form a symphony. This way, progress reviews and…

08.16.11  Ron Ashkenas

The Problem with Perfection

If you're not familiar with the law of diminishing returns, it states that at a certain point adding more effort will not produce significantly more gains. The challenge is knowing when you've reached that point. For many managers this is an important ...

06.21.11  Ron Ashkenas

You Can't Dictate Culture – but You Can Influence It

Most senior managers struggle with culture because it's so difficult to define. Even less tangible than a "soft" concept, culture is more like a cloud. How do you get hundreds (or thousands) of people to think and act in the way you agreed upon?

04.05.11  Ron Ashkenas

Sustainability's Faustian Dilemma

We all remember the SunChips Episode of 2010. Frito-Lay introduced bio-degradable packaging for SunChips in March, and was surprised to see sales of the chips drop by 11% over the next six months. The reason: Consumers felt that the new bags were ...

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